Turnkey was Re: search paths and teachpacks?? was Re: [plt-scheme] How do I get picture.plt working under DrScheme 205?

From: Joe Marshall (jrm at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Thu Sep 25 09:15:49 EDT 2003

Allyn Dimock <dimock at cs.uml.edu> writes:

> Some decades ago, when I was designing turnkey software, the
> designers had to pound on the development and test engineers to make
> them realize that no matter how dumb a sequence of actions might
> seem to the engineers, there was some neophyte user who was
> eventually going to perform that sequence of actions, write an
> imcomprehensible bug report, and cause general annoyance.

It is hard to make something foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

I was once a QA engineer at a dysfunctional company.  I used to write
tests that would attempt to exercise the edge cases.  I'd pass empty
strings as pathnames, ".." as file extensions, attempt to delete
databases that didn't exist, refer to the local machine with a fully
qualified network pathname, and other such idiotic behavior.

For some reason I cannot comprehend, this kind of testing was
considered `wasteful' because it didn't test `the product under normal
use'.  The engineers were annoyed because they had to insert checks
for things that `nobody would ever do'.

I eventually left that company (as did most of the QA department).

To this day, I still think this is the right thing to do.  If the
software can stand up to deliberate idiocy, it is more likely to
behave correctly when you start using it for things that were
unforseen by the implementor, for example, when you attempt to attach
it to other software via some sort of scripting.

Posted on the users mailing list.